Murdoch researchers win Endeavour scholarships

November 16, 2015

Rebecca MeckelburgA Murdoch University PhD student and a researcher have been awarded federal government scholarships to support their investigations.

Rebecca Meckelburg, a PhD candidate in the School of Arts and affiliated with the Asia Research Centre, has received the 2016 Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship worth up to $69,000 which will fund 14 months of field work living and working with people in rural village communities in Central Java, Indonesia.

Ms Meckelburg is investigating the complex changes in the lives of villagers since the beginning of Indonesia’s democratic reform era in 1998.

“My research is concerned with how and why people act in response to a changed economic, social and political environment in the ways that they do,” explained Ms Meckelburg.

“I will be examining the desires and objectives of rural people themselves, what they value, how their values influence political action.

“The research will identify gaps in social support policies and community development programs and will support recommendations for policy change to address these gaps so that rural communities directly benefit.”

Ms Meckelburg said she had a long standing interest in rural communities in developing countries. She speaks Indonesian fluently and has previously carried out research projects in Central Java since 2002 while living in the region for 10 years.

Dr Manickam Minakshi Sodium-ion battery researcher Dr Manickam Minakshi from the School of Engineering and Information Technology is also the recipient of a 2016 Endeavour award.

Dr Minakshi’s Endeavour Executive Fellowship worth $15,000 will fund a two month visit to Uppsala University in Sweden where he will continue to develop his research into renewable energy storage devices with collaborators.

His research made headlines internationally three years ago when Dr Minakshi and Murdoch colleague Dr Danielle Meyrick announced that their water-based sodium-ion battery had shown potential for affordable, low temperature storage for large scale use, including storing energy from wind turbines and solar farms.

“Issues such as the environment, the rapid increase in fossil fuel prices, and the increased deployment of renewable energy sources, provide a greater need for the development of electrochemical energy storage, especially for large-scale applications,” said Dr Minakshi.

“Materials research and computational modelling play a key role in making further progress in the field of energy storage and the Endeavour fellowship will give me the opportunity to research and test further the battery technology we developed.”

The Endeavour scheme will also be funding Dr Karambir Honda from the Indian Institute of Maize Research to come to Murdoch University in 2016 to work with agricultural scientists.

The Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are funded by the Australian government to support citizens around the world to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and for Australians to do the same overseas.

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